As the year closes on the first year that commercial cannabis operations on the lower Kenai Peninsula received licenses, only three Homer area licenses have been issued.
All are for cultivation facilities and outside city limits and in the Kenai Peninsula Borough.
Two retail shops have moved to “delegated” — the second-to-last step in the Alaska Marijuana Control Board licensing process — and plan to open in 2018.
Remodeling of Uncle Herb’s on Ocean Drive continues, said owner Lloyd Stiassny of Anchorage. Stiassny said he had no firm date for Uncle Herb’s, located in a building next to the Homer Farmers Market.
In September the Homer City Council gave its approval to Uncle Herb’s, the first marijuana retail store application to come before the council.
The remodeling process involves new doors, security cameras and other renovations, Stiassny said.
“We have a really good plan. We know what we’re doing. We have to plug away and execute and hope all the pieces fall in place,” he said.
Construction of Alaskan Cannabis Outfitters, another retail store, on the Sterling Highway near Green Timbers Road will start in 2018, with a possible opening in the summer, said William Bear of Homer, an affiliate with corporate owner Great White Bear LLC of Anchorage.
“We’re still a little ways out. In a perfect world we’ll be open mid-season next year,” Bear said.
AMCO has asked for a few tweaks to Uncle Herb’s application and is waiting for approval from the Fire Marshal, AMCO director Erika McConnell said in an email.
Stiassny said some people interpreted his delay in opening a pot shop as having to do with the attitude “that Homer somehow didn’t want to embrace the industry,” he said.
That’s not the case.
“It’s really more about why it took me longer to initiate the license,” he said.
Licensing is in the initiated status for a third retail store, 420 on Main Street at the site of the former Homer Cleaning Center. “Initiated” is the first step in the long process of applying for and getting approval for commercial marijuana businesses. “Delegated” means “board approval has been delegated to the AMCO director pending completion of certain requirements.”
After AMCO started taking commercial cannabis applications in February 2016, the city of Homer passed an ordinance regulating by zoning district growing, manufacturing, testing and selling marijuana — the four categories of businesses AMCO regulates and licenses. “Cannabis” is the biological term for the marijuana plant, and preferred by some as being more accurate.
Alaska law refers to the plant as marijuana.
The three active, licensed marijuana operations in Homer are all grow operations: Talisman Farms on Crossman Ridge, a limited cultivation facility license; Cannaboyd on Lowbush Avenue, also a limited cultivation facility, and Hunter Greens and Purples, a larger cultivation facility.
A limited cultivation facility has less than 500-square-feet of plants being cultivated.
Another standard marijuana cultivation facility, Homer Budz on Virginia Avenue, is in the active-pending inspection status.
Alaska Loven It, a standard marijuana cultivation facility on Kachemak Drive, has initiated an application but AMCO has identified items to be completed.
As of Nov. 30, facilities that have initiated applications and are under review are:
• Green Escape, limited cultivation facility, Stariski Acres, Anchor Point
• Sherwood’s Magical Forest, Bryant Circle, Kachemak City, limited marijuana cultivation facility, and
• Volcano Flower, Volcano View Court, Homer, limited marijuana cultivation facility
Facilities that have initiated applications are:
• A1 Cultivation, 24640 Sterling Highway (also noted as 69514 Jewel Place on some maps), Happy Valley, retail marijuana store
• A Hoo La Luk Farms, Sayer Road, Anchor Point, limited marijuana cultivation facility
• Growing Johnsons, Lee Roy Avenue, Anchor Point, limited marijuana cultivation facility
• Greg’s Growing Greenery, Lee Roy Avenue, Anchor Point, limited marijuana cultivation facility
• Blind Eye Cannabis Inc., Trapper Lane, Homer, limited marijuana cultivation facility
• Baycrest Farm LLC, Green Timbers Road, Homer, limited marijuana cultivation facility